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Gen Z diners cite cost, deals as top factors for choosing restaurants

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Gen Z restaurant
Eating out is a top spending priority for one-in-five Gen Z consumers.

Despite increased cost pressures, Gen Z consumers still greatly prioritize eating at restaurants and getting takeout.

According to Deliverect’s latest survey “The Age of Gen Z,” eating out is a top spending priority (outside of rent/mortgage and household bills) for one-in-five (21%) Gen Z consumers. That’s in line with other top spending priorities including groceries (38%), car payments (e.g. car finance, fuel, insurance, etc.) (22%) and clothes shopping (26%).

The survey of more than 3,000 young consumers in the United Kingdom and United States revealed that cost is the most-critical factor in Gen Z’s dining choices and is cited as the next top reason besides taste for returning to a restaurant (42%) – with that number increasing to 44% when it comes to takeout restaurants. Cost consistently comes before other important factors such as service, location, cuisine type and more, for both dining-in and when ordering takeout.

Four-in-10 consumers (42%) said in the survey that offers like two-for-one deals and limited-time or student discounts influence their restaurant choice when eating out – and that figure increases to 46% when it comes to ordering in. Nearly a third (31%) say they look for deals/offers more often when eating out/ordering food due to the economic climate.

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“Gen Z presents a unique, yet vital, opportunity for restaurants, and as the summer season quickly approaches, restaurant owners need to do what they can to win over Gen Z’s share of wallet,” said Zhong Xu, co-founder and CEO of Deliverect. “Building trust and offering delicious food at a fair price is the recipe for success with this generation. In today’s competitive restaurant landscape, understanding Gen Z's dining habits allows restaurateurs to tailor their offerings and marketing strategies to attract and retain this important customer base.”

Gen Z trusts friends and family the most for food recommendations, with 93% valuing their opinions despite being digital natives. However, social media is slightly more influential for discovering new places to eat (48% vs. 44% for friends/family), yet is less effective in persuading repeat visits. TikTok is particularly notable, with 70% of Gen Z considering it the most valuable source for restaurant recommendations, followed by Instagram (65%) and YouTube (41%).

Regardless of their situation in life, many Gen Z are homebodies, with 42% of respondents preferring to order takeout rather than go out to eat on a Friday night (46% in the U.K. and 39% in the U.S.), which Deliverect noted is a habit potentially learned from the pandemic.

“Embracing value for money, leveraging the power of user-generated content, and catering to their desire for convenience, especially on weeknights, are core principles that will help restaurants remain a top spending priority for Gen Z and beyond,” added Xu.

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